International Women's day Portuguese Women | Kleya - Relocation, Retirement, Investment & Moving to Portugal
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International Women's Day!



In honour of today, Kleya would like to highlight and celebrate some of the Portuguese women who have left their footprints in our country!

  1. FILIPA DE LENCASTRE (1360-1415)

Granddaughter of King Edward III of England, daughter of João de Gaunt and Branca.

Born into the royal family of England, her marriage secured the Treaty of Windsor and birthed several children who became known as the "Illustrious Generation" in Portugal.

Filipa de Lencastre came to Porto in 1387  at the age of 27, to be queen of Portugal and start the Avis dynasty with João I.

She came to be one of the boosters of the Portuguese kingdoms’  modernization and expansion, in addition to educating her children.


  1. LUÍSA HOLSTEIN (1841-1909)

She was the heiress to one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom and did not abdicate the management of assets in favour to her husband, as was customary at the time.

She is the only sculptor who stood out in the 19th century in Portugal. Award-winning artist at the Paris Salon- she considered herself a socialist, stated that the surplus of the wealthy was the poor’s patrimony, she spent many days in meal centres for those whose wages were barely enough to support themselves, but who she believed should have the right to eat a good meal in a decent place.

The Affordable Kitchens (Cozinhas Ecnómicas), a work that the establishment of the Republic did not neglect, represented the most visible side of the philanthropy of Maria Luísa Domingas de Sales by Borja de Assis by Paula de Sousa Holstein (from Palmela).


  1. ADELAIDE CABETE 1867-1935)

Born in Elvas, to parents of the working class, Adelaide de Jesus Damas Brazão married at 18, completed primary school at 22, finished high school at 29 and acquired her degree in Medicine at age 33. "Protection of poor pregnant women as a means to promote the physical development of new generations", was her degree thesis, in which, going beyond the frontiers of science, she proposed the creation of a law that would allow female workers to rest in the last month of pregnancy, benefiting from a subsidy taken from the profits of the company, the State and a contribution between workers. What today we call the maternity leave.

She also proposed the creation of maternity wards, day-care centres, asylums for children, institutions of social solidarity- all of which she defended until her death.

A Republican, feminist, freemason, fought for the rights of women, children, the poor and animals – she fought for a fair and healthy society!



Maria Helena Vieira da Silva was a Portuguese abstract painter. She was considered a leading member of the European abstract expressionism movement known as Art Informel.

In 1956, the magazine "Elle" choose her as the French woman of the year. She lived in France for some time, however, she does not accept the distinction, reminding everyone that she was  Portuguese, born in Lisbon.

In that same year, she had to choose the French nationality over the Portuguese. She would choose, right after Oliveira Salazar had proposed to her what she had refused him almost two decades earlier, when she and her husband wanted to be Portuguese citizens and the dictator blackmailed her, conditioning acceptance to divorce.

Maria Helena Vieira da Silva lost her citizenship when she got married at age 22, to a stateless Jewish painter named Arpad Szenes, the love of her life. It was only 70s that Portugal will recognize that her talent for painting, which made history.


  1. AMÁLIA RODRIGUES (1920-1999)

Singer, fado singer, theater actress, cinema -  a 'star' of the 20th century.

Amália Rodrgues, an intuitive woman who did not feel like a fado singer, but as an artist. Who said she owed her success to sadness, fear, shyness!  Over the course of half a century, recorded more than one hundred records, entered a dozen films and gave countless performances.

Known as the 'Rainha do Fado' ("Queen of Fado"), Rodrigues was instrumental in popularising Fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.


  1. Rosa Mota (1958)

She is a former Portuguese athlete, known mainly for being a Marathon European and World Olympic Champion. She represented the country at the Olympic Games and was considered at the time to be the best marathon runner ever!

The Portuguese affectionately refer to Rosa as “our Rosinha”, considering her as the most important athletes of the 20th century.


  1. Elvira Fortunato (1963)

A brilliant scientist and worldwide expert in electronic paper engineering. She developed the first paper-based transistor, as well as memories, screens, batteries and more.

In 2010, she received the title of Grand Officer of the Order of Infante D. Henrique.

The Order of Prince Henry (Infante D. Henrique) is a Portuguese order of knighthood created on 2 June 1960, to commemorate the quin-centenary of the death of the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator, one of the main initiators of the Age of Discovery.


  1. Joana Vasconselos (1971)

Joana Vasconcelos was born in 1971, she lives and works in Lisbon. She is an artist known for her large-scale art installations.

She has been exhibiting regularly since the mid-1990s. The international recognition of her work came with the participation in the 51st Venice Biennale, in 2005, with the work A Noiva (2001-05).

She was the first woman and youngest artist to exhibit at the Palace of Versailles, in 2012. Other relevant moments in her career include the solo show at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2018); the Trafaria Praia project, for the Pavilhão de Portugal at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); participation in the collective The World Belongs to You, at Palazzo Grassi / François Pinault Foundation (2011); and his first retrospective, presented at the Berardo Collection Museum, in Lisbon (2010).





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